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Cheltenham Q & A - Kevin Maher

Posted on 4th October 2015 by Kevin Maher
Waterstones exclusive: Kevin Maher answers our seven questions.

We here at Waterstones put our heads together and came up with seven snappy author questions and put them to the authors appearing at Cheltenham Literature Festival (which runs from the 2nd - 11th October). The result? Read for yourself.

Sixth in the series: Kevin Maher.

Kevin Maher was born and brought up in Dublin, moving to London in 1994 to begin a career in journalism.  He is a feature writer, critic and columnist for The Times. His first novel, The Fields, was shortlisted for the 2014 Authors' Club Best First Novel Award. His second novel, Last Night on Earth, is out now. Kevin will be at Cheltenham Literature Festival on Mon 5 Oct 2015, 7:00pm - 8:15pm to discuss his latest work.


What book do you wish that you had written?

The big ones, obviously – Ulysses, Wuthering Heights, Will Self’s Great Apes. But ‘even’ something so unassuming as John Banville’s The Sea would be the point at which I could happily pack it all in.  

Just as your books inspire readers, what authors inspired you to write?

Joyce, Yeats, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Hardy, Nevil Shute and the Bronte sisters. 

Once you've had the initial idea for a book, do you create the plot first or do you begin writing straight away, looking to discover the story and characters along the way?

I do no prep or preplanning whatsoever, I just gallop on into it, helter-skelter, in a Gadarene rush right over the edge, and hope that it all makes sense in retrospect. 

Do you read your reviews? How do you respond to them, good or bad? Any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Love my reviews. An amazing process. Because the good ones tend to shed light on stuff that you’ve never thought about before, while the bad ones always, without exception, confirm the suspicions that you held at the time, when you handed in the manuscript, that certain sections of the book, well, sucked a little bit.

If you were trapped on a desert island, which two books would you want to have with you and why?

The Fifty Shades trilogy, plus Grey, because I’m going to need something to burn on those cold winter nights.

Who else do you wish to see while at the Cheltenham festival?

It’s a toss-up between Anne Enright and Boris Becker (isn’t it always?).

What was the last book you read?

The Wallcreeper by Nell Zink. Utterly brilliant. She’s just mind-blowingly good. Puts everyone else on the writing circuit, including me, especially me, to shame.  



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